In my work with gay couples over the years, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon that occurs when a relationship is on the rocks. For most lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans (LGBT) couples that are going through a rough patch, it seems that laughter and playfulness is abandoned and replaced by worry, anxiety, stress, fear, and anger. When these heavier energies dominate the relationship it can be challenging to see the goodness in yourself, let alone your partner.
I am not suggesting that you can laugh your way to a healthy relationship — that takes communication, trust, and honesty — but a good belly laugh echoing through the house can be an effective antidote for the stale energy that can develop in a long-term relationship.
Laughing together is a great way to improve the mood of any moment, as well as diffuse conflict. When sharing that laughter with someone you love, the benefits multiply exponentially. It creates a bond between the two of you and adds joy back into the equation of the relationship.
How Does It Work?
This energy shift isn’t just psychological; there is an actual physiological change that takes place in the body. When you experience a deep, heartfelt laugh, there is a rapid exchange of oxygen in the respiratory system, the heart beats more rapidly from the movement of the abdominal muscles associated with laughter, and most importantly, endorphins are released. This endorphin rush moves feel-good chemicals into the brain, increasing your appetite for touch and connection. Suddenly your partner seems desirable, sexy, and intriguing. And you feel the same about yourself.
Laughter can also remind you and your partner of better times when things seemed easier and less overwhelming. This reminder of the playful facets of your relationship opens up the doorways to successful communication by reigniting your commitment to work through things together. Laughter brings back a lightness and ease that brings you into the present moment, where you can more effectively connect and appreciate each other.
So how else can laughter assist you and your partner to stay connected and emotionally healthy? Bringing a little levity into the relationship will allow the two of you to develop a greater sense of spontaneity, which in turn can get you out of your head and into your heart. Laughter also helps to reduce the need for defensiveness, which can interfere with each partner’s ability to really hear one another. When defensiveness is removed it is easier for each partner to express true feelings and build a strong and resilient relationship.
How Can My Partner and I Practice It?
To bring this energy of laughter and fun into your relationship, you and your partner will initially need to actively pursue it. Watch funny movies together, go see comedy shows or your favorite comedic drag queen, even share jokes that you hear through friends or online. Play with kids or even your pets to experience spontaneous laughter.
It can even begin with the simple gesture of smiling at your partner whenever you see them. Meeting each other with the lighter more lifted energy of a smile immediately sets the stage for good things to come. Let a smile light your face at even the simplest things about your partner that bring you happiness.
It can also help to work with your partner to focus on the lighter side of life and not get overwhelmed with the stress of daily life. Working together, you can practice keeping things in perspective, encouraging each other to use laughter to dissolve stress and anxiety.
It can be incredibly uplifting to laugh with your partner about the slings and arrows that get thrown at either of you by the cruel twists of fate. Laughing with someone you love is a tonic that can make it all seem better.
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